The Radical Camera

New York's Photo League, 1936-1951

Mason Klein and Catherine Evans; with contributions by Maurice Berger, Michael Lesy, and Anne Wilkes Tucker

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $50.00
YUPOut of Stock
Our shopping cart only supports Mozilla Firefox. Please ensure you're using that browser before attempting to purchase.

An in-depth look at the influential Photo League, whose blend of aesthetics and social activism advanced modern photography

Artists in the Photo League, active from 1936 to 1951, were known for capturing sharply revealing, compelling moments from everyday life. Their focus centered on New York City and its vibrant streets—a newsboy at work, a brass band on a bustling corner, a crowded beach at Coney Island. Though beautiful, the images harbor strong social commentary on issues of class, child labor, and opportunity. The Radical Camera explores the fascinating blend of aesthetics and social activism at the heart of the Photo League, tracing the group's left-leaning roots and idealism to the worker-photography movement in Europe. Influenced by mentors Lewis Hine, Berenice Abbott, and Paul Strand, artists in the Photo League worked within a unique complex comprising a school, a darkroom, a gallery, and a salon, in which photography was discussed as both a means for social change and an art form. The influence of the Photo League artists on modern photography was enormous, ushering in the New York School. 

Presenting 150 works of the members of the Photo League alongside complementary essays that offer new interpretations of the League's work, ideas, and pedagogy, this beautifully illustrated book features artists including Margaret Bourke-White, Sid Grossman, Morris Engel, Lisette Model, Ruth Orkin, Walter Rosenblum, Aaron Siskind, W. Eugene Smith, and Weegee, among many others.

Mason Klein is curator at The Jewish Museum, New York. He is the author of Modigliani: Beyond the Myth and Alias Man Ray. Catherine Evans is the William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography at the Columbus Museum of Art.


The Jewish Museum, New York 

Columbus Museum of Art

Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach

"This is conscience-led photography at its shining best."--Lucy Davies, The Sunday Telegraph

“This is conscience-led photography at its shining best.”—Lucy Davis, The Sunday Telegraph ‘Seven’

“… [An] excellent volume.”—William Meyers, Standpoint

"This book will be of great interest to readers interested in the history of photography. An essential title for academic and public libraries supporting photography collections."—Valerie Nye, Library Journal

"[The catalogue] should be considered indispensable to a serious photography book library."—Studio International

 "The Radical Camera. . . catalogue surveys and illuminates the many personalities and their politics that formulated the Photo League's tenants and ensuing oeuvre throughout  the tumults of their times"—Bookslut

Runner-up for the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival in the Photography/Art category, sponsored by JM Northern Media LLC

Winner of the 2011 New England Book Festival in the Photography/Art category. This award is given by the JM Northern Media family of festivals, and sponsored by the Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony, eDivvy, Shophanista and Westside Websites

Bronze Medal for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award in the Photography category

Runner up for the 2012 San Francisco Book Festival award for Photography and Art.

Won Honorable Mention for the 2012 Exhibition Catalogue Award given by the Dedalus Foundation

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2012 for Photography within the Humanities category.
ISBN: 9780300146875
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Jewish Museum, New York, and Columbus Museum of Art
248 pages, 9 3/8' x 11
150 duotone + 76 b/w illus.
Alias Man Ray

Mason Klein; with contributions by George Baker, Merry L.

View details
Helena Rubinstein

Beauty Is Power

Mason Klein

View details
Modigliani Unmasked

Mason Klein; With an afterword by Richard Nathanson

View details
Modern Look

Photography and the American Magazine

Mason Klein; With essays by Maurice Berger, Leslie Camhi, a

View details